Asia Weighed by Taiwan COVID Threat

Asia-Pacific shares were mostly down on Wednesday, as Taiwan’s markets tumbled after authorities said they may raise its COVID-19 alert level after an outbreak in recent days.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dropped 461.08 points, or 1.6%, to 28,147.51.

Japanese automaker Nissan’s shares tumbled 10%. The company announced Tuesday that its annual operating loss in the year ending March 31 widened to 150.65 billion yen ($1.38 billion U.S.) from a 40 billion yen shortfall in the past year. Overall, auto shares in Japan fell on Wednesday morning, except Toyota Motor which was up more than 2%.

The Japanese yen changed hands at 108.73 per U.S. dollar, strengthening from last week’s levels above 109.00.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index regained 217.23 points, or 0.8%, to 28,213.04,

Taiwan’s health minister said on Wednesday Taiwan may raise its COVID alert "in the coming days," after it experienced an unusual outbreak of six new cases with no clear infection source. The territory had kept the pandemic well under control before this cluster.

Australia declined, with banking names taking much of the fall. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar rose against the dollar to $0.7814.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 added 21.49 points, or 0.4%, to 5,044.55.

China released data on Tuesday that showed factory gate prices rose at the fastest rate in three and a half years in April while consumer prices rose at a more modest pace. That fueled some of the concerns around a rapid rise in inflation that may force central banks to raise interest rates and implement other tightening measures.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times index slid 21.01 points, or 0.7%, to 3,123.26.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index lost 680.76 points, or 4.1%, to 15,902.37.

In Korea, the Kospi index let go of 47.77 points, or 1.5%, to 3,161.66

In New Zealand the NZX 50 fell 74.98 points, or 0.6%, to 12,564.21

In Australia, the ASX 200 slumped 52.09 points, or 0.7%, to 7,044.87.